What is So Scary About Art?
24 Oct, 2012
Written by Carey Potter
In my many years of traveling around the country as a lobbyist, my work has taken meto the biggest and most amazing cities in our country. On those lucky trips when the work schedule wasn’t completely overloaded, I took the opportunity to hop in a cab for a tour. I toured architecture in the old homes of the South, visited art galleries in New York City and Chicago. I sat in on writer’s workshops in Concord and Hartford, caught a stringed quartet in Boston, and dallied the day away at a “cork and canvas” event with a friend in Tampa.
And, what I realized is this is all Art. I genuinely miss these opportunities now that I am no longer traveling. So, it’s time to bring some art to the middle of rural Nebraska. Ever heard of the group the Haunted Windchimes? They are genuine artists. Their music is art. The fiddle, bass, banjo, their voices and it is amazing. And those who were brave enough to venture out to the Pour House, in downtown Friend now know this first hand. Their music, coupled with the architecture of the Historic Warren Opera House made for a masterpiece. True art. And everyone else who said “who?”, or “never heard of ‘em”, or “I has penetrated the hearts and minds of too many. They see a fancy couple, decked out in black gown and tux, dripping in jewels, strolling the stairway to an art gallery, sipping champagne, and the thought is “Yikes! That’s just not me. I don’t like art.
One Thursday night, a few weeks ago, I partnered with the Friend Historical Society, Nebraskans for the Arts, a local art teacher, NE Tourism, the Humanities Council. We were joined by a professional actress/teacher of theater at UNL. The goal of the evening was to take the “scary” out of art and to bring it home to a safe place, where we could talk about it. It’s not necessarily a stodgy event with wealthy people. It is painting, yes, but also writing and singing and music and it’s in the shapes of our buildings. Art is being creative. Art is what makes us think. It’s the music of the Haunted Windchimes and the acoustic beauty of the Opera House. Not about whether you see an abstract painting and you don’t see anything but a blob on a canvas. Thinking outside of our comfortable bubble, we grow.
Yes, I’ll say it, Rural towns are dwindling. “And”… you ask… “what’s art have to do with that?” Well, I’ll tell you, it has everything to do with it, in my opinion. Bringing art and creative thinking to a community can be just the shot-in-the-arm a town needs. The studies show people not from your town will travel to see what it is you have. Whether it is an art exhibit in a gallery, or a historic building, even “art on a plate” in the presentation of an anti-pasta tray served up with a nice glass of handcrafted Nebraska wine which you know it, is also art! And, what better to help grow small communities than to put like-minded creative “artsy” people’s heads together.
There is a “top 10 list” of why art is important. The reasons are as varied as being financially beneficial to Main Street businesses, to improving drop-out rates in children. Yes, my friends, art is not scary. Art is all around us, Albert Einstein said,
“Logic will get you from A to B. Creativity will take you everywhere.”
Amen, Mr. Einstein. And promoting “the Arts” in rural Nebraska is the first step in a strategic plan that will not only bring city-folk to the country, but it will shake the comfortable cage of those that “don’t like or do art” and odds are that that’s going to be a good thing.
Through this partnering effort, we were able to connect the dots and are continuing to reach out to those of us out there that aren’t afraid of the Arts. That’s a truly beautiful thing. A real work of art, if I do say so myself! If you have an interesting project going in your small town, please post to me and let’s connect the dots. I’ll look forward to hearing from all of the “artsy folk” that are enjoying rural Nebraska, but miss the Arts. Thanks for reading!
Featured Photo: Big City Party by Bobby Logic